I hope the semester is treating you well. As you already know, this month is Black History Month. I won’t go on a rant about the necessity of this month because I shouldn’t have to. However, I will encourage you to be mindful that Black History Month is for ALL black people.
Oftentimes we silence the voices of black people who don’t fit into our narrative of what it means to be black. We downplay the accomplishments of leaders who are not necessarily as palatable as their charismatic counterparts. This manifests itself in a number of ways. We see it with Bayard Rustin, one of the main organizers for the March on Washington and a friend of Dr. King. He is left out of the conversation regarding civil rights because he was openly gay.
Before Rosa Parks there was Claudette Colvin, a 15-year-old girl who refused to give her seat on a bus to a white person. She was arrested but her name is not nearly as well known as Rosa Parks who has been revered as the mother of the Civil Rights Movement. Why? Because Claudette Colvin was 15, unmarried and pregnant. We scream #BlackLivesMatter but are silent when black trans-women are brutalized and murdered. This is not just wrong, but it does a grave disservice to our entire community. Hurt people, hurt people. If we continue to marginalize people in our community, then we eradicate the perspectives, contributions and ideas of those marginalized groups. We become nothing more than our own oppressors.
That being said, use this Black History Month to do some research. Learn about other historical figures and don’t just focus on the faces of the movement. Use this opportunity to take control over what you are feeding your brain and channel your inner revolutionary. Most importantly, understand that your actions, your stances, your fight will be a part of history someday. Be on the right side of history. Happy Black History Month!
Nothing but love,